New store sample: Taiyo Linier

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The Taiyo Linier Top by Sian Price-White is an easy spring / summer top that is worked flat in two identical pieces and then put together with four short seams. The length of both the sleeves and the body are easily adjusted. We knit according to the pattern (casting on 150 stitches) but worked our two panels a little longer than the original for additional coverage. Great over a t-shirt, tank-top, or dress! Dress it up or down.

Our top pairs Shibui Linen and Silk Cloud (held together) for a soft and weightless version.

Click here for more photos and project details on our Ravelry page.

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– Melissa

New store sample: Granny’s Favourite

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Granny’s Favourite is a sweet, easy to follow, pattern from Georgie Hallam. This versatile little confection is knit from the top-down with several length options provided including bolero, dress, and cardigan. Three sleeve lengths are also included: short, middie and long. As such, this is actually several patterns in one! The easy lace pattern on the yoke is both written and charted and sizes are colour-coded (newborn to age 12). The Butterfly Super 10 Cotton was a perfect yarn choice and the finished cardigan is as beautiful as it is hard-wearing.

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This yarn is available in our online store here.

– Melissa

Kim Hargreaves books – just re-stocked

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Kim Hargreaves’ pattern books are perennial favourites and it’s clear why. Filled with stunning collections of modern yet classic designs, each one is more inspiring than the next. The patterns are clear and accessible and the layouts and photography makes these coffee-table worthy.  A key designer at Rowan for over twenty years, Kim now manages her own company from her home in Yorkshire England and delivers fresh ideas four times a year in book form.

Click here to browse these books on the Rowan website.

Note that several of these titles are now out of print so this may be your last chance to scoop them up!

– Melissa

The Granny Square is back!

Come and learn how to crochet this fun and addictive baby blanket.
Class begins Wednesday, April 8th!

CROCHET BABY BLANKET – GRANNY SMITH (Bilingual Class)
Giovanna Clementi
$90 for three 2-hour sessions
6 pm – 8 pm, April 8, 15, 22

class_granny_smith

Many topics will be covered in this 3-week course including: achieving neat colour changes, carrying yarn from row to row, tips on dealing with ends, how to determine how much yarn is required for another row. Required materials: worsted weight yarn in several colours, 4.5 and 5 mm crochet hook, tapestry needle, scissors. Pre-requisites: participants must know how to crochet basic stitches such as: chain, slip stitch, single crochet and double crochet.

– Melissa

Free pattern Friday: Funny Bunny Hat

This pattern will be free until Easter Monday, after which it will cost $5, so hurry over to Ravelry and get your free download!

free_funny_bunny_hat

(Photos: Angie Watson)

The Funny Bunny Hat by Angie Watson is a very sweet little pattern which is knit with a solid or variegated main color for the hat and outer ears and a contrast colour for the inner ears. The pull over the head design provides lots of coverage to keep your bunny’s ears and neck warm too and saves the trouble of wrestling with a scarf or separate neck warmer.  Pattern includes directions for seven sizes from 3 months to 3 years.

– Melissa

New in store: Sock Stop

sock-stop

We have a new product in store we’ve been meaning to tell you about. Sock Stop is a non-slip latex based paint that lets you transform your ordinary slippery socks into safe socks!  An especially good idea for kid’s socks and felted slippers. To use, simply cut a piece of card to the right size and insert into your sock. Apply the Sock Stop liquid onto the outside of the sock creating unique designs or patterns and leave to dry. When completely dry (after 10-12 hours) the socks are washable at 40C.

We currently have 3 colours in stock but will be adding more soon.
Available in 100 ml bottles.

Order online here.

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– Melissa

WWMD*

It seems like Spring is slowly creeping upon us – finally! At the store we have new stock of summer yarns, including a few new ones I am itching to knit with like Quince Kestrel (a linen ribbon yarn) and Shibui Twig (a mix of recycled silk, linen and a bit of wool with a cool texture). I just have to find the right patterns.

What I am working on right now is a store sample worked in Drops Bomull Lin, a cotton linen mix in a worsted weight. This particular Drops pattern asks to knit the yarn quite loosely – as often with summer sweaters – and this in return opens up a whole box of questions about finishing.

I get them quite often at the store. Most of the times I am able to give you tips, other times I am not sure because it is quite tricky to advise something I haven’t done myself.

So here is another part of *What Would Mona Do.

First of all, when knitting summer yarns loosely, do not freak out about how uneven the knitting looks. Mine does too. Sometimes more so, sometimes less, usually not very pretty.

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Don’t fret – just steam! After a good steam blocking the sleeve looks like this:

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Much better, right?

Now, this particular sweater is knit in pieces that need to be seamed.

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Not so pretty either with all these ends hanging about. There is a good reason for it, though. In this case I have decided I am going to seam the sweater first and then ‘hide’ the ends in the seams, this way they won’t show. I could have woven the ends into the edge first, however that would make seaming a bit more difficult – so, seam first, weave after.

I might have mentioned it before, but here I go again: If you put a bit of thought into what comes after the knitting (finishing!) then you might be able to prepare that during knitting. It makes things usually easier and less daunting.

That is my morsel of WWMD for today.

Happy Knitting, as ever!

Mona

Quince & Co. Sparrow: New colours now in stock!

Sparrow_new_colours_spring2015

Five gorgeous new colours of Sparrow have just arrived from Quince & Co.! From the top, are: Maize, Penny, Moon, Venice, and Fundi. Sparrow is spun in Italy from organic linen grown in Belgium. Its clean, smooth hand is crisp as you knit it but after washing and wearing it becomes handkerchief soft. One of our favourites for summer knitting projects.

Fiber: 100% organic linen
Amount: 50g
Yardage: 154 m / 168 y
Knitting Weight: Sport
Gauge: 24 sts per 10 cm / 4″Needles: 3.25 mm (US 3)

Sparrow is available in our online store here.

Project ideas for Sparrow:

(We’ve blogged these before but they’re as inspirational now as they were then!)

sparrow_ideas

Row 1

Surrounding Tank by Hannah Fettig (Photo: Carrie Bostick Hoge)
Hélène by Veronik Avery (Photo: Carrie Bostick Hoge)

Row 2

Dejeuner Bag by Pam Allem (Photo: Carrie Bostick Hoge)
Aria Cardi by Cecily Glowik MacDonald (Photo: Carrie Bostick Hoge)

Row 3

Leaves Shawl by Kristen TenDyke (Photo: Carrie Bostick Hoge)
Sparrow by Pam Allen (Photo: Jane Heller)

Row 4

Emma Shrug by Carrie Bostick Hoge (Photo: Carrie Bostick Hoge)
Lida Shawl by Bristol Ivy (Photo: Carrie Bostick Hoge)

– Melissa

New in store from Berroco: Captiva, Karma, and Espresso

A shipment of warm-weather yarns arrived from Berroco last week! We’re excited to begin working with these as their composition and knitting weights promise to lend some interesting new textures to traditional shapes and styles which, for us, is so much of what summer knitting is all about. We’re in the process of narrowing down our choices to a manageable list but, in the meantime, a few project ideas are included for you below…

Captiva

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Captiva’s satiny feel and subtle shine give it an air of sophistication. Created by wrapping a shimmering filament around a smooth cotton blend, this machine washable yarn comes in a wide range of elegant shades.

Length: 98 yds – 90 m
Gauge: 18 sts & 25 rows = 4″ (10cm) on 8 (US) / 5 mm needles
Fiber:  60% Cotton, 23% Polyester, 17% Acrylic

Machine wash. Lay flat to dry.

Project ideas: 

Void by Norah Gaughan

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Void is an airy cropped pullover worked in an easy four-row lace pattern at an especially loose gauge.

A LA MODE by Versaci Knits

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A la mode is a classic V-neck pullover with couture detailing. The front is a little shorter than the back to create a gradual slope, and the back is a bit wider than the front, with a slight billow created by short rows.  If you love textured knits and have some experience with pattern stitches, you’ll find a la mode to be a fun project that will keep your interest. While the stitches themselves aren’t hard, they do demand that you pay attention, so this is not a mindless knit.

Seabrook by AMANDA KEEP WILLIAMS (FREE PATTERN!)

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Seabrook is a simple open vest is worked at a loose gauge, resulting in an airy textured fabric that drapes beautifully.


 Karma

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Dyed in a range of softly shaded hues, the intriguing mesh construction of this machine washable cotton tape gives it an airy quality.

Length: 66 yds – 60 m
Gauge: 12 sts & 18 rows = 4″ (10cm) on 11 (US) / 8 mm needles
Fiber:  100% Cotton

Machine wash on delicate cycle. Lay flat to dry.

Project idea:

Ladder Sleeve Pullover by Joann Rogers

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The Ladder Sleeve Pullover has a relaxed fit, boat-neck, shaped bottom and 3/4 length dolman sleeves. An openwork ‘ladder-like’ panel adorns the sleeves. Knit sideways (from cuff to cuff) in one piece.


 Espresso

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Espresso is a cotton blend with a vibrant hand-dyed look that knits up quickly, creating beautiful pieces that are machine washable and easy to care for.

Length: 148 yds / 135 m
Gauge: 12 sts & 15 rows = 4″ (10cm) on 11(US) / 8 mm needles
Fiber:  50% Cotton, 50%  Acrylic

Machine wash. Lay flat to dry.

Cimone by Amy Christoffers

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Knit from side to side, Cimone is a triangular, garter stitch scarf featuring a drop stitch fringe. A fun, colourful, layering piece!

Sibilla by Amy Christoffers

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Sibilla is a flattering cropped cardigan made with a simple, modular construction.

Maiella by Amy Christoffers

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Maiella is a  lovely stockinette, v-neck tank that is simple in design and quick to knit!

– Melissa 

New store sample: Groovy – Butterfly Cotton version

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Another Groovy shawl / wrap for our store sample collection – this time in cotton for spring and summer. The Butterfly Super 10 yarn from EL. D. Mouzakis is great to work with and the finished project is just beautiful after a good long soak.  Interestingly, because this yarn is mercerized it is less absorbent but this is also what helps it to retain its sheen and shape over time – even after repeated machine washing and drying.  We love the crisp, clean lines of the Groovy pattern combined with the easy drape of this cotton yarn.

Click here to see additional photos and project details on our Ravelry page.

Butterfly Super 10 Cotton is available in our online store here!

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– Melissa

Re-stocked: Digital Row Counters and Knitterella Gift Tags

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Our last batch sold out in record time! Eleven colours now re-stocked :-) Get ’em while they’re hot. Available online here.

Knitterella Gift Tags

With their fun, bold, original designs on the front of the tag and a special place on the back to mark fiber, size and proper care instructions, these unique gift tags are the perfect finishing touch to all your handmade gift-giving! 6 tags per pack, 2.5″ x 5″

Available online here.

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knitterella-gift-tag-sweet-baby-pink knitterella-gift-tag-sweet-baby-blue

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The back of each tag:

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– Melissa

Free pattern Friday: Campside

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Campside by Alicia Plummer is a beautiful triangle shawl knit in a DK-weight yarn.  The shape lends a classic feel while the colour and texture lend a beach-y, casual vibe. We love the feeling this shawl evokes and can imagine keeping it close and reaching for it all summer long – a perfect carry-everywhere accessory for cool evenings and cold offices.  The version shown is knit with Julie Asselin’s Leizu (a merino and silk blend). We think this would also be great knit with Butterfly Super 10 Cotton, Rowan Creative Linen, or Hemp for Knitting allhemp6Lux.

– Melissa

New store sample: Simple Lines II

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I blogged our version of Simple Lines knit with Isager Tvinni back on March 12th and mentioned that we had two more versions of this lovely shawl in the works. I finished this one up yesterday. It’s knit with Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (color = Vermillion) and, unsurprisingly, the look is completely different. While our first version feels decidedly rustic and casual, this one shimmers with rich colour and looks more “dressed up” than it’s Tvinni twin.  Both are so pretty. Always amazing to see what a difference yarn choice makes!

See additional photos and project details on our Ravelry page.

Simple Lines is a free pattern.
Tosh Merino Light is a available in our online store here.

– Melissa

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So Much To Do, So Little Time

As I type this, two men are busy fitting two new windows in the front of my house. I already have a new back door and a new front door. The side door is in place but incomplete because they delivered the wrong frame. (Also, apparently it is a must to bang the door every time the leave or come back into the house. Very annoying.)

My house is a mess. It doesn’t look like it but it is covered in a layer of dust.

No time for knitting today – gotta go clean…

I’ll be back next week with more interesting stuff, or at least I hope I will!

Happy Knitting, as ever!

– Mona

Re-stocked: Euroflax and allhemp6LUX

The last couple of weeks have seen the arrival of many new summer yarns along with the topping up of existing favourites. Today we had deliveries of Louet Euroflax and Hemp for Knitting allhemp6LUX . We’ve been stocking these two yarns since we opened over four years ago and we never get tired of their crisp sheen and versatility!

Euroflax and allhemp6LUX can be purchased in our online store here and here.

LOUET EUROFLAX

Louet’s long line linen yarn is made from custom wet spun flax-fiber. A superior quality, fine linen, Euroflax is double boiled and then steamed to ensure maximum softness. We’ve knit several summer projects with this and can’t say enough about it’s drape, texture, and durability.   Machine washable and dryable.

Here are some projects we’ve knit with this yarn:

A SLICE OF LINEN

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A Slice of Linen by Susan Barstein is an ingenious combination of a square and two rectangles and, voila, a cool and breezy summer top. The colour blocks are knitted in stockinette and are seamed together sideways. A simple 3-needle bind off down the front adds interest. A great pattern to experiment with colour.

Click here for additional photos and project details on our Ravelry page.

MARGOT

Margot, by Linden Down, was published in Knitty in 2009. The look of this sweater is classic and simple and the boatneck, combined with three-quarter-length sleeves and subtle waist shaping make it a flattering style for many body types.  In order to create a summer version of the original design, we opted for Euroflax linen instead of merino, and added length to create more of a tunic style with a slight A-line. The top-down construction of this sweater makes it an easy, relaxing knit and has the added bonus of allowing you to try it on as you go to ensure the right fit and desired length.  Note – this is a free pattern accessible on the Knitty website.

Click here to see additional photos and project details on our Ravelry page.

Dangling Conversation

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Dangling Conversation by Mindy Ross is a  simple little crescent shaped summer shawl / kerchief. A great warm-weather accessory that plays nicely with a tank top or tee. Basic charts and written instructions are included in the pattern along with a tutorial for optional beading embellishment.

Click here for additional photos and project details on our Ravelry page.

GRETEL

Gretel, by Julie Weisenberger of cocoknits is a seamless, A-line tank with a flattering cowl neck. We knit this one up with Euroflax for a little less transparency than the original design. A quick project with lots of possibilities – we’ve seen it worn over a tank or t-shirt or under a summer jacket / blazer.

Click here to see additional photos and project details on our Ravelry page.


 

HEMP FOR KNITTING – ALLHEMP6LUX

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This 100% hemp yarn from Hemp for Knitting is soft and surprisingly easy on the hands. One of our favourite choices for summer garments and bags, allhemp6LUX drapes beautifully and is incredibly strong.  It won’t pill, stretch, shrink, or fade and will only get softer with time and use. It can be machine washed and dried which makes it an easy care option for warm weather wear. Because each individual strand is dyed before plying, allhemp6LUX has a lovely saturated colour and luminescent sheen. A must try if you haven’t already!

Here are some projects we’ve knit with this yarn:

Cool Hemp Ponchette

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The Cool Hemp Ponchette by Lana Hames is an easy layering piece for summer. The hemp yarn lends a lovely cool heft to the piece and the combination of plain garter stitch and the wide lace border make this equally at home over jeans, a summer dress, or a bathing suit.

See additional photo and project details on our Ravelry page.

SIMPLE HEMP TOTE 

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The Simple Hemp Tote is an uncomplicated project that knits up quickly.  The bag is worked as a long rectangle with angled corners, folded in half and seamed to finish. Classic in style, the combination of brown, natural, and black makes this a great casual bag that works with most outfits. Still, we can see this knit in a variety of colour combinations – be creative! Note: Yarn is held double throughout.

Click here for additional project details and free pattern.

– Melissa

 

New in store: Butterfly Super 10 Cotton

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Although it’s been around for years, we’re sorry to admit that, until recently, we had not tried Butterfly Super 10 Cotton yarn and weren’t really sure what the fuss was about. After listening to many of our customers rave about its qualities, however, we decided to give this popular yarn a try and were so impressed, we immediately placed an order.  Although a little late to this particular yarn party, we try not to miss one and now have 33 colourways in stock with more on the way!

Butterfly Super 10 Cotton is a beautiful 100% mercerized cotton imported from Greece that comes in a wide range of stunning colourfast shades. A proven, high performing cotton with a gorgeous sheen, it wears well even after many machine washes and won’t shrink or pill. We highly recommend this yarn for spring and summer projects, for household items like potholders and washcloths, and as a substitute for anyone allergic to wool. Super 10 is adaptable to most DK or Worsted weight patterns.

A few project ideas below…

Groovy by Jumpercables Knitting

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(Photo: JumperCables)

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of the Groovy pattern (we’ve knit several in various fibers) and we’re looking forward to knitting up a version in Butterfly Super 10. The beautiful drape and sheen of the one pictured above has us sold – a perfect warm-weather accessory. Stay tuned for pictures of another Groovy store sample coming soon!

Zigzag Potholder by AimeeJessica

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(Photo: AimeeJessica)

I don’t crochet but, with so many fun and modern new patterns appearing on Ravelry, I’m feeling the urge to focus some energy on picking up this new skill.  I love the look of these Zigzag Potholders and envision them adorning my kitchen like little rays of sunshine.  Smaller versions for coasters!

Medano Beach by Heidi Kirrmaier

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(Photo: rililie)

We knit a store sample of Heidi Kirrmaier’s Medano Beach in allhemp6Lux a few years ago in black and white and it’s been a popular summer knit.  That said, a softer, more colourful version with Butterfly Super 10 like the one pictured above may now be in order :-)

– Melissa

Just added to our online store…

Knit Blockers

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An original idea guaranteed to make blocking your knitted projects easier!  Knitter’s Pride Knit Blockers significantly speed up the blocking process and help maintain even tension across a wider area than individual pins. Ideal for blocking on straight edges like sweaters, shawls and scarves.  Made using tough plastic with sturdy, rust resistant stainless steel pins embedded along one side.

Purchase online here.

Camden Rose Knitting Tower

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The Camden Rose Knitting Tower enables young children, and even adult beginners, to practice the essentials of knitting. Children can begin to knit right away, as the birch wood tower holds the stitches while their fingers freely move the yarn. Best part of all is the choice between a tight stitch 6-pin knot or a stretchy stitch 4-pin knot. Includes small sample of yarn.

Purchase online here.

Louet Octo Drop Spindle

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A top whirl drop spindle with an octagonal shaped whirl – great for beginners or spinners on the go. Weighs approx 1.43oz (40gr).

Purchase online here.

– Melissa

New in store: Shibui Cima

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We recently added Shibui Knits Cima to our growing collection of lace weight yarns and we are in love with this gorgeous blend of fine baby alpaca and merino.  Cima combines sharp stitch definition with buttery softness and can be held single, double, or triple, to create smooth fabrics with clean lines, perfect for modern garments. Available in a palette ranging from vivid brights to calm neutrals (23 colours in stock). Try Cima on its own for airy lace pieces, or combine it with a coordinating Shibui yarn like Linen or Silk Cloud to create your own ultimate blend.

Here are a few project ideas to inspire!

June Bride Shawlette by Lidia Tsymbal

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(Photo: Lidia Tsymbal)

The June Bride Shawlette is a weightless and airy little wisp that is delicate and beautiful enough to gift to a bride or to wear as a guest to a summer wedding.  We can also see this paired with more casual outfits as a go-everywhere warm-weather accessory.

Arnhem Loop by Silke K.

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(Photos: Okei)

Arnhem Loop is a simple recipe for a very versatile infinity cowl which can be worn in many different ways. The original pattern uses an Isager lace-weight alpaca yarn but the version shown above uses 2 skeins of Cima in main colour (Ivory) and 1 skein of a contrasting colour (Fjord). We love the simple, nautical feeling of this one.

Monochrome | Aperture by Kirsten Johnstone

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 (Photos: Shibui Knits)

Focus in on this sophisticated cardigan from designer Kirsten Johnstone. Shibui Linen and Cima combine into a fabric with contrasting characteristics — crispness and drape. Wear this piece open, allowing the clean I-cord edges to ripple softly along the front, or wrap and fasten into a sleek, modern shape, complete with an asymmetrical collar.

Aviendha by Melanie Berg

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(Photo: mairlynd and MillieMilliani)

 Aviendha is an asymmetrical, two-colored shawl, worked entirely in garter stitch. Instructions are simple but the result is stunning. A great opportunity to experiment with colours and contrasts.

Mix No. 20 by Anotnia Shankland

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(Photos: Shibui Knits)

Narrow stripes intersect at perpendicular angles in this striking cowl. An unexpected pop of color is right on trend. Cima and Silk Cloud held together give No. 20 its lightweight yet warm and incredibly soft fabric.

– Melissa

Learn to finish well!

Still a spot or two left in our Finishing class beginning on Monday morning!

FINISHING / FINITION DES TRICOTS (Bilingual Class)
Giovanna Clementi
$90 for three 2-hour sessions
9 am – 11 am: March 16, 23, 30

Learn how to finish your project professionally. Different bind-offs, weaving in ends, seaming, picking up stitches for button bands and edgings, three-needle bind-off, sewing the underarm of a project knit in the round – all of these skills will be covered in this comprehensive finishing class.
Required materials: Two stockinette stitch swatches, approximately 6″ × 6″, a tapestry needle, enough yarn to work with in main colour and contrast colour, knitting needles in two sizes – the size used to work up the swatches and one size smaller. The third evening is reserved for helping participants with individual projects.

Call 514-486-5648 to register.

Free pattern Friday: Botanical Cowl

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(Photo: Megan Goodacre)

The Botanical Cowl by Megan Goodacre is a lovely springtime project ideal for featuring a special skein of hand-dyed or luxury blend yarn. It uses an airy double-eyelet pattern that provides beautiful drape and visual interest, and is edged by 4/4 ribbing. Instructions are provided for either a single or double loop size.  The cowl uses 247 – 274 m of fingering or sport weight yarn and the designer recommends Handmaiden Fine Yarn Sea Silk or Quince and Co. Tern.  We also think this would be gorgeous in Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label Cashmere/Silk Single, SweetGeorgia Yarns Merino Silk Fine, or Madelinetosh Pashmina.

– Melissa

Re-stocked: Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton

A huge shipment of one of our favourite cotton yarns arrived last week just in time for baby blanket knitting season (something about the spring!). Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton is 100% certified organic and comes in a beautiful palette ranging from rich and creamy neutrals to intensely saturated hues. What better choice for babies?

Our cheerful and modern Chevron Baby Blanket is knit with this yarn – click here to download the free pattern!

Original version: 1 skein each of #617, #606, #615, #635, and #607

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Need a more boyish palette? How about: #607, #616, #615, #626, #634

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BSA Worsted Cotton is now available in our online store.

– Melissa

Look at us – getting all brand-y!

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First it was our Espace Tricot Eco Tote and now we’re on needle gauges! Not just any needle gauges, mind you. These customized little tools come from Nancy’s Knit Knacks, producers of the knitting industry’s most complete and accurate needle and hook gauge. They include metric and US needles sizes as well as crochet hook sizes. The lettering is clear and legible and will not wear off. Gauge won’t break or bend. Never again wonder what needle sizes you have in your stash should they become separated from their packaging or their markings wear off.  Also handy for measuring your needle and row gauges!

Now available in our online store.

– Melissa

New store sample: Simple Lines

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We’ve had our eye on the Simple Lines pattern by Maanel for ages and last month we decided to cast on a rustic interpretation of this shawl using Isager’s Tvinni yarn – a premier merino lamb’s wool that is soft and fine but with beautiful structure. The pure, natural look of this yarn works well with the spareness of the overall shawl design and the lace detailing on the edge adds just the right amount of interest and feminine flare.  Deep enough to be worn as a shawl and long enough to wrap around the neck and tied like a scarf.

View additional project details and photos on our Ravelry page.

Note: Simple Lines is a free pattern on Ravelry.

Stay tuned for two more versions of this project (some patterns just beg to be knit more than once) in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light and Handmaiden Lino…!

– Melissa

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Dos And Don’ts

Sometimes it is really hard to decide what to do and what to don’t – but hey, maybe I can help you to figure it out when it comes to your knitted/woolly things!

Soon will come the time to put away your warm, wintery knits (yes, soon!) and as with everything else it is better to put them away clean. Winter coats get cleaned or washed before stashing them away, and so should your scarves and hats and whatnots.

After working for almost five years – yes, it has been that long! – at Espace Tricot I have added to my knowledge of how to wash knitted items, which I have been trained to do by my Mom since I was a kid.

All I can say is: You are so lucky! Nowadays hand washing is so much easier! Growing up with hand washing sweaters and things I never had an issue with yarn that is ‘not washable’ (meaning machine washable), on the contrary, mostly I prefer how those yarns feel and I am ready to do the extra work. Hey, wait a  minute. What extra work?

Let’s compare the praised machine washing with the hand washing:

  • place your laundry in the washer
  • put the detergent in the washer
  • start washer
  • when done, place laundry in the dryer, or if necessary, on drying rack/clothes line

What do you think how long it takes to do that? From beginning to end (not included the work the washer does), maybe 5-10 minutes, right?

Ok, now to the hand washing:

  • fill sink (or plastic tub, bucket etc.) with tepid water
  • add no rinse soap like Soak or Eucalan
  • place knitted item in water, squeeze out air
  • let soak for 10 minutes
  • empty sink and squeeze out water as much as possible (without twisting the knit), you might have to use and old towel to squeeze out more
  • lay flat to dry

How long do you think that takes? I’d say the longest part is waiting until the sink is full and then empty again, everything in between, maybe 5 minutes, maximum 10, waiting for the item to soak does not count.

What we have established now is that hand washing is really not that labour intensive. There is only one reason for that: no rinse soap!

When I started to wash sweaters, it was a labour of love. Same as now I’d fill the sink, add detergent (organic liquid soap, usually), wash my sweater, and then rinse. And rinse again. Sometimes up to four, five times. With cold or maybe tepid water. No fun. But my knitted sweaters lasted for a long time, because I took good care of them.

As you can see, the not so secret ingredient is the no rinse soap. I learned about Eucalan about 10 years ago, and happily added Soak later on. We have both at the store, and if you haven’t tried either, I do think you will want to!

Let’s talk about the dos and don’ts now:

Do

  • use tepid water for wool, warm/hot water makes wool felt
  • be gentle, squeeze the knit to get the air and then dirt out, too much movement will felt/full the wool
  • use the spin cycle on your washer to get the water out of more than one sweater or blankets ect. (the spin cycle does not hurt the wool, but it gets a lot of extra water out!)

Don’t

  • twist, wring the knit to get water out
  • rub the knit to get dirt out
  • use conditioner; yes, you could start a debate on that one, and, wool is nothing but spun hair, yet all conditioner does is add a layer of stuff onto your knits, just as it does to your hair
  • use Woolite; after a few experiences at the store with running colors even on machine dyed yarn, I ask you to avoid it for hand washing, it just seems too aggressive — and you’ll have to rinse
  • let the wet sweaters sit in the sink without water, the dye might just run a bit more (ask me how I know!), put them out to dry right away; this is especially important for hand dyed yarns

All of these recommendations for hand washing are based on my experience. You are perfectly welcome to do it differently if you prefer. Also, if you have any tips to add, leave a comment!

For superwash items I like to use the hand wash cycle in spite of being able to use the gentle cycle, and I use cold water. I also use my regular detergent, which has been fine so far. After all, in the machine the items get rinsed. I don’t have to add much here, except for ‘lay flat to dry’, of course! Oh, and maybe: don’t let them sit in the machine too long, when wet some dye might still leak – again, especially with hand dyed superwash yarns.

Happy Knitting, as ever!

– Mona